Harness Racing at Forbury Park Explained

Forbury Park is the southernmost harness or trotting racecourse in the Southern Hemisphere. The course is situated in Dunedin, New Zealand and is known for its excellent sand track. The track and the club are over 100 years old, having been started in 1909 with an original dirt track. The original area of twelve hectares was built on a reclaimed swamp near the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

The crushed dust track was introduced in 1960 and 1961, making Forbury Park an all weather venue. This along with the implementation of floodlights allowed night racing to happen, which became very popular for locals. Forbury Park is one of the biggest harness racing venues in New Zealand, attracting not only locals on big race days but tourists as well.

Placing A Wager At Forbury Park

Placing a wager on a race at Forbury Park can be done in a number of ways. Firstly there are bookies on site on the major race days, with electronic tote machines being offered when the bookies are not on track. Some Australian online betting sites will offer some of the Forbury Park races on certain days. The bigger races are usually covered by a select number of sites, but smaller races have be wagered on using either a specialized bookie or one of the electric tote machines at the track but you can make use of racing betting sites.

Forbury Park Championship

There are only a few group races which are held at Forbury Park each year, the $25,000 Dunedin City Four and Five Year Championship being one of them. The championship has been held most years in March near the Easter weekend. The championship is one of the lead up races to the Harness Jewelles, which is the main harness race in New Zealand. Local trainers and punters look forward to the race as not only a test of going horses, but also potential youngsters. Wagering on the race is popular, and can be done both online and at the track. The championship is sometimes covered in Australia as well, and is always available to watch online so that punters can keep an eye on the horses.

harness race in action

Harness Racing In New Zealand

Harness racing in New Zealand is a popular past time for both spectators and punters. It is considered a family outing in many cases with tracks, including Forbury Park, promoting day trips from both locals and tourists. Harness racing is not as star studded nor as popular as thoroughbred racing, making it much more accessible for both the public and trainers or drivers. The conditions on harness drivers are not as hectic as they are on thoroughbred jockeys, as less exertion is needed to drive a sulky.

The public and punters can often get up close and personal with horses, trainers and drivers down at the local harness track. This helps when looking for a horse to put a wager on, as a bit of knowledge always makes wagering a surer thing. Watching the horses and drivers at smaller meets as well as at training session or trials is a good way to determine how fit and able they are. Talking to trainers, drivers and owners may also yield a few good tips, although it is always wise to consider where the tips come from as the tipster may just be biased toward his own horse.